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Pittsburgh-based brands to know spotted at Style Week Pittsburgh

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

In addition to runway shows, Style Week Pittsburgh strives to spotlight accessory and jewelry brands that call the city their headquarters.

A couple of them featured so far this week included Sandra Cadavid handbags and jewelry and Nicolette Jewelry Sculptures. 

Sandra Cadavid handbags are made in Colombia, the designer Sandra Reiman's home country. At the Style Week Pittsburgh kick-off event she showed off handbag styles from the new collection (pictured below). Shop the brand at www.sandracadavid.com.

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Nicolette Jewelry Sculptures displayed its handmade pieces created with eco-friendly, upcycled materials and are light in weight. Check out designs below, or visit www.nicolettejewelrysculptures.com.

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Need more of an accessories fix? Day 2 of Style Week Pittsburgh includes an accessories trunk show at LUXE on Broad Street in East Liberty from 6-9 p.m. It's free and open to the public. Information: www.styleweekpittsburgh.com.

 

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Style Week Pittsburgh kicks off in grand style at The Priory Grand Hall

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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One day down, six more to go.

The second annual Style Week Pittsburgh kicked off Monday night at The Priory Grand Hall on the North Side with a vendor presentation and fashion show, which morphed into a dance party by the end of the event.

This year is all about quality, said founder and director Wadria Taylor. Everything -- from picking the participants to setting up photos around the venue -- was done with intention.

And it showed. Upon arrival, guests were invited to browse tables of Pittsburgh-based brands and designers, including Nicolette Jewelry Sculptures and Sandra Cadavid handbags and jewelry.

The main event was a runway show spotlighting the pattern-rich pieces by Toya Taylor of Kingston, Jamaica and the vintage-inspired, black-and-white dominant dress collection by recent Pittsburgh transplant Portia Brady, formerly of Dublin, Ireland. They complemented each other well: Ms. Taylor's designs played more with color, texture/fabric mixing and blocking and various silhouettes while Ms. Brady kept it classic (some slender dresses, neutrals, a douse of sparkle).

The models looked poised and polished, thanks to training by Jaylee Lemon of ReFined Culture. Models who knew how to walk well kept the emphasis on the clothes -- not on their walking flaws. (That's not always the case.)

There was a bit of a lull between the first and second runway shows, but the crowd of about 60 or so didn't seem to mind. Many got up from their seats and danced to the tunes DJ Selecta had on tap.

In all, the event was grand, like its venue. It showed tremendous growth and refinement from its inaugural kick-off a year ago at Perle in Market Square. The pacing of the evening, the vendors featured and the runway show direction all showed improvement and thoughtfulness. 

Photos: Above, Style Week Pittsburgh founder and director Wadria Taylor, left, with Pittsburgh-based designer Lana Neumeyer show off their dresses, which were both made by Ms. Neumeyer. Below, fashions by Toya Taylor of Kingston, Jamaica (first two images) and Portia Brady, who recently relocated to Pittsburgh from Dublin, Ireland. Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette

Check back later this afternoon for a photo recap from runway kick-off event, plus accessory sightings.

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Fashion designer Toya Taylor brings collection from Caribbean to Style Week Pittsburgh

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Style Week Pittsburgh is expanding its borders for its second annual outing to include designers from beyond the city, too.

Meet Toya Taylor, an aspiring fashion designer from Kingston, Jamaica. Her women's wear looks will be featured in the kick-off runway event tonight at The Priory Grand Hall, North Side.

Get to know the designer, her goals and how she infuses her collections with island flavor.

What's your impression of Pittsburgh?

There is a culture of fashion that is waiting to be tapped into. I also love the architecture. I’ve seen beautiful brick work homes and gorgeous buildings. The winter is BRUTAL though.

What inspires you as a designer?

Being that I’m from a Caribbean island and surrounded by nature, I’m inspired by the beauty in that. To be able to find elements and textures of various trees, colors reminiscent of the water -- makes my ability to create clothing pretty easy.

I would describe my design style as ... clean lines, sophistication and timeless silhouettes, always given a hard edge. Of course, my island spice background plays a significant role with the use of bold prints and bright colors.

My must-have fashion item is ... a blazer. I love the multi-functionality of it.

My advice for aspiring designers is ... to just go for it and see it through. This will never feel like work if you’re truly passionate about it. Don’t be crippled by the fear of being judged.

In five years I'd like to ... be a household name in fashion, not only in Jamaica but internationally. You have to dream big, and I want to have my own design studio and boutique within this timeframe and also begin a menswear brand. Ultimately, I want to build the Toya Taylor lifestyle brand.

A lookbook of her designs will be available during Style Week Pittsburgh. (Some designs featured in the photos, courtesy of the designer.) She also can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for custom and ready-to-wear orders.

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Fashion designer Portia Brady of Shadyside traded Emerald Isle for Steel City

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

The kick off for the second annual Style Week Pittsburgh is just hours away.

This time around, founder and director Wadria Taylor is opening the seven-day affair with a runway show featuring the creations of designers with international ties. One of them is Portia Brady, a recent transplant to Pittsburgh from Dublin, Ireland.

Stylebook has a sneak peek of her styles and got the scoop on what influences her fashions and her favorite things about Pittsburgh so far. Check back this afternoon for a Q&A with Style Week's other international designer, Toya Taylor of Kingston, Jamaica.

What inspired you to become a designer?

My father's wise words of advice were that you should build your career out of the things you love to do in your free time, because if you love what you do, you'll never truly work a day in your life. I had been sketching fashions and making my own clothes since I was a child, so it was a perfect fit when I finally made fashion my career.

My favorite thing about being a designer is ... the freedom. I have creative freedom over my own work and freedom with my schedule. I think creative personalities can really wilt if forced into certain boxes but being able to work how and when I need to has allowed me to flourish.

As a designer, I'm inspired by ... the woman I am designing for. I always try to envision who she is and what her story is and that helps me to create the perfect gown for her. That's what makes it particularly special for me when clients contact me to tell me they love a gown and it's exactly what they've been searching for.

What brought you to Pittsburgh? 

My boyfriend and I decided together that Pittsburgh had the greatest mix of features for us. He is a doctor and was drawn to the great medical facilities in Pittsburgh, while I loved the up-and-coming fashion scene and beautiful scenery and architecture. We live in Shadyside, and I have a fashion studio in Forest Hills where I work away from the hustle and bustle!

I feel my greatest accomplishment to date is ... making a gown for the beautiful Irish singer Andrea Nicole to attend the Grammy Awards last year. I felt such pride seeing my gown on the red carpet.

I would describe my design aesthetic as ... classic style. The great icons were not followers of trends but had a timeless style that suited their shape and personality. I try to create garments that will stand the test of time and will always exude class and elegance.

The biggest misunderstanding about fashion and design is ... that it's easy! Running a design house takes a great deal of hard work and dedication. I love what I do, but I put in very long hours and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, too.

My favorite discovery about Pittsburgh's fashion community so far is ... the style trucks! They are absolutely ingenious. I love the idea, and I had never seen or heard of style trucks in Europe. I can't wait to shop in a truck!

Browse and shop Ms. Brady's collection on her website, portiabridalboutique.com. She also creates custom designs upon request. See some of her styles below and watch an interview with Ms. Brady here. (Photos courtesy of the designer)

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This weekend in Pittsburgh style+society: Style Week Pittsburgh preview, fashion trucks + more

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

It's Friday -- and fashion is in the air!

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In this week's "Setting the SEEN," Post-Gazette SEEN editor Natalie Bencivenga and style editor Sara Bauknecht preview the second annual Style Week Pittsburgh, which kicks of Monday at The Priory. They also learn how to channel their inner Naomi Campbell with tips from runway coach Jaylee Lemon of ReFined Culture.

And do you need something to wear to the seven days of fashion-focused events? Pittsburgh's mobile boutiques have apparel and accessories to satisfy your style appetite!

Until next time ... we'll be seeing you!

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